The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) has launched a public education campaign warning young people about the dangers of consuming cannabis edibles and driving. The Do Anything but Drive campaign’s message is, “if you’re going to do edibles, do anything but drive,” the group said.
The ads, which stop short of preaching full abstinence from cannabis, rely on the tired “stoner” stereotype as a gimmick to persuade teens and young adults against driving after eating edibles.
Jeff Walker, president and CEO of CAA North & East Ontario, said that when it comes to edibles and driving, “there is no gray area or room for debate.”
“Cannabis edibles stay in your system longer and can produce some really varied reactions that can be skewed by a multitude of factors, including how much food is in your stomach. Cannabis consumption delays your reaction time, putting yourself and others on the road at greater risk for collisions, which can be deadly, while cannabis edibles can produce stronger, different and longer reactions. It’s simply not safe to drive after consuming them.” – Walker in a press release
CAA research suggests that 20 percent of Canadian 18-24-year-olds have driven a vehicle while under the influence of cannabis or been in a vehicle with someone intoxicated by cannabis. A poll from the organization earlier this year found 50 percent of young Canadians believe it is safe to drive less than five hours after consuming cannabis, with 12 percent saying that their driving is better or at least the same after consumption.
Notably, while the CAA campaign hinges on the “stoner” stereotype, the vast majority of Canadian cannabis consumers do not relate to that identity, according to a recent survey.
Cannabis edibles were legalized throughout Canada last fall – about a year after cannabis was broadly legalized in the nation and taxed and regulated sales commenced.
CAA was one of the organizations consulted by the government during the legalization debate.
The organization’s U.S. arm, AAA, last month donated more than $100,000 in grants to public safety, health, and law enforcement agencies and organizations in Illinois to stem cannabis-impaired driving.